Category Archives: Iraq

The Ur Digitization Project: The Largest Jar!

Field Photo from Pit F showing an excavated kiln still containing pottery

While working on the Ur Digitization Project and the condition assessment of the ceramic vessels from Ur, I often find myself thinking about how they were made.  Once in a while I notice features that help illuminate that question.  My favorite example of this is 31-16-160, which is described in our database as, “pottery, the […]

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Ur Digitization Project: February 2014

Map from UE7 showing Old Babylonian site with late grid placement: original designators have been placed over their excavation areas.

Site Records Mapping Woolley’s Notes Spotlight on Letter Designators for area excavations found in Ur notes and reports As we go through Woolley’s field notes from his excavations at the ancient city of Ur we learn more and more, not just about the buildings and artifacts he found, but about the way in which he […]

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Ur Digitization Project: January 2014

Legrain Photo of the site of Palmyra in Syria, 1926.

Personal Records, 1926 Continued Spotlight on Legrain’s travels through his Letters and photos We have now completed scanning the curatorial records of Father León Legrain, or at least those that most directly concern the ancient city of Ur. I have now read through many of them, particularly those sent to Penn Museum director George Gordon, […]

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Archives Photo of the Week: Bicycles, Horses, and a Golf Club

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The excavations at Nippur, Iraq are some of the University of Pennsylvania Museum’s most well known explorations. The seasons at Nippur resulted in numerous important artifacts and a plethora of new data and knowledge. Very serious work, however, calls for very serious party time. This week’s photo captures some downtime somewhere between 1899 and 1900. […]

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Ur Digitization Project: November 2013

Father Legrain working on cuneiform tablets at the Ur Dighouse

Father Legrain’s Records Spotlight on travel sketches Trip back from Ur, 1925 In both the 1924-25 and the 1925-26 seasons, Father León Legrain was the epigrapher at Ur–the person whose expertise was in cuneiform script and whose duty it was to investigate the clay tablets as they were found. Father Legrain was curator of the […]

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The Salty Pots of Ur and the Desalination Station

Ceramics drying after desalination

In July, I joined the Ur Digitization Project.  As a part of this project, I have been working on a condition assessment of the ceramics from Ur.  In doing the condition assessment I am looking at, measuring, and evaluating the stability of every ceramic vessel in the Museum’s collection from Ur.  So far I have […]

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Ur Digitization Project: September 2013

A view down Straight Street (Division Street) in the 1930-31 season. UPM Archive photo 191883

Excavation of the ancient city, 1930-31 Season Spotlight on Domestic Area AH Reconstructing original house numbers and the process of their excavation One of the great accomplishments of the Ur excavation was the large extent of domestic architecture it revealed. Many early archaeological efforts focused almost exclusively on monumental structures and grandiose tombs. Woolley certainly […]

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Ur Digitization Project: August 2013

Gertrude Bell at the Ur dighouse

Reconstructing Excavation Processes Spotlight on Division of Finds: Penn’s acquisition of its Ur material Tens of thousands of artifacts were uncovered in the twelve years of excavation at the ancient city of Ur, from 1922-1934. The Ur of the Chaldees project, with lead funding from the Leon Levy Foundation, is still uncovering exactly where each […]

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Ur Digitization Project: July 2013

Electrotype copy of the helmet of Meskalamdug. The gold original is in the Iraq National Museum

Documents of the month Spotlight on archival records of the Ur excavations With special thanks to all the volunteers transcribing them Cablegrams announcing finds (PA1-11-7-1927 and PA1-12-14a-1927) Not only were thousands of ancient tablets excavated at the ancient site of Ur, but thousands of modern documents were created in the process of excavating them and […]

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Ur Digitization Project: June 2013

Field photo of Pit F at Ur, field season 1928-29

Artwork of the month Spotlight on museum number 31-10-1 Oil Painting of Ur It’s not often that I can discuss an oil painting that relates to the site of Ur, but this month I’m doing just that. In the 1930-31 season, the Woolleys received a distinguished artist guest, one Joseph Lindon Smith. Mr. Smith was […]

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